The start of any new series of a television programme you enjoy is usually a joyous occasion, but in this case it is mixed feelings that accompany the return of the Sarah Jane Adventures as series star and former Doctor Who actress Elisabeth Sladen passed away last April. This of course stopped production of the fifth series of the popular CBBC show and only six episodes consisting of three completed stories will be broadcast.
But better to bask in the final rays of sunlight from such a bright star and enjoy a final round of performances from an actress whose character touched so many fans of the Doctor Who universe both young and old.
Certainly though despite the emotional charge of this shortened series there is a lot of positive things to say for Sarah Jane’s swan song as both installments of Sky are strong, exceptional pieces of children’s television that are a testament of the quality the series had in its five years on the small screen.
A baby is left on Sarah’s doorstep and one that also has strange powers that seem to be alien in origin. Not only do the team of Bannerman Road have to deal with becoming instant parents to a baby that they dub Sky (Sinead Micheal) but also with an invisible metal man and a blond female humanoid claiming to be the aliens mother named Ms. Myers (Christine Stephen-Daly).
Later on we find out that the baby is a weapon in the war between the Metal Kind and the Flesh Kind and created by Ms. Myers to wipe the Metal Kind from the face of the universe. The child grows instantly into a young teenage girl as she confronts the lone Metal Kind on Earth as part of her programming. Of course this horrible crime is not fine with Sarah and the gang as they attempt to rescue both Sky and the Earth from Sky herself.
This is all classic Sarah Jane Adventures type stuff here; good enough to keep the kiddies glued to their seats but entertaining enough for the adults to be able to stomach it as well. The regulars in Clyde (Daniel Anthony) and Rani (Anjli Mohindra) are also back in the fold right out of the saddle as is Sarah Jane’s adopted son Luke (Tommy Knight) who like last series is seen from university via the internet and not able to fully participate in the adventures himself.
When all is said and done this is obviously a script driven solely to integrate the character of Sky as a regular on the Sarah Jane Adventures and it is very reminiscent of the first ever Sarah Jane story Invasion of the Bane. It is not hard to imagine that the show’s production staff were eager to make the show youthful again as most of its regular cast continues to grow past the teen years and into adulthood.
But as far as scripts with a purpose go this one was not bad at all, and the cast still shines enough to carry us through the bits that seem to be repeated from the past. Sky would have also been an excellent addition if the series were to continue beyond its fifth year as she was everything that was missing since Luke grew up, a fish out of water that was funny and a joy to watch.
As said the plot was a bit paint by numbers and the concept of the Flesh Kind and Metal Kind at war with each other was not exactly going to win an award for originality but it did the job as well as expected to open up a new series and it is a shame that they will not be continued past the sixth episode.
But as Sarah Jane herself muses at the end of this episode: “The most wonderful thing about the universe is that there is that there is always something more amazing to come.”